Saracens show of class to beat Exeter offers boost for Eddie Jones as World Cup stars shine

England’s spine show class once again in Saracens’ win against Exeter to give Eddie Jones boost ahead of World Cup

  • Five of Saracens’ double-winning side will be key for Eddie Jones at World Cup 
  • England rely on Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Billy and Mako Vunipola 
  • The Premiership final at Twickenham against Exeter was of a Test standard 

Saracens did it again with another European and domestic double, and that can only be good news for England further down the line in Japan as long as they keep their star men fit.

Eddie Jones will be delighted with the way Saracens have played this season because the spine of his World Cup starting team will be built around them. Billy Vunipola, Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and Jamie George – all quality on Saturday – are vital for England, as is Mako Vunipola, who missed the final through injury.

If you take those five players out of Jones’ squad there is a big drop off in the quality behind them. If England lose even one of them the team would be struggling.

Brothers Mako (left) and Billy Vunipola are crucial players for both Saracens and England

Brothers Mako (left) and Billy Vunipola are crucial players for both Saracens and England

Fly-half Owen Farrell has helped Sarries to another double

Maro Itoje was awarded man of the match for his display in the final

Owen Farrell (left) and Maro Itoje starred in the Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday

Jamie George grabbed two tries for Saracens in the final and is now England's starting hooker

Jamie George grabbed two tries for Saracens in the final and is now England’s starting hooker

We saw that in the Six Nations. The win over Ireland was as good as anything we have seen and would have scared anybody. 

But the Wales match, with Mako out injured, showed how England failed to cope without one of those kingpins.

If those five players start in any World Cup game England are going to be in with a big shout whether they play South Africa, the All Blacks or anyone else.

England coach Eddie Jones knows how vital the Saracens players are to his World Cup plans

England coach Eddie Jones knows how vital the Saracens players are to his World Cup plans

World Cups are about winning tight games and Saracens came out on top despite being 11 points down on the hour. 

Most of the crowd thought they were cooked but there were 15 men in red on the pitch who thought otherwise.

The European Champions Cup win over Leinster in Newcastle was probably the high-water mark of their season when they came back from 10 points down, had both starting props off and Itoje in the sin bin.

Saturday was a Test match standard final and Saracens have done all this with all the noise around them about salary caps and social media outbursts. 

They circled the wagons. It happened to me with the players’ strike in 2000, but you find out how good a team you are – and Saracens are a seriously good team.

Saracens were able to put recent controversy behind them to win the final in style on Saturday

Saracens were able to put recent controversy behind them to win the final in style on Saturday

Exeter did their bit at Twickenham. They arrived having come top of the league and still some people have been calling them boring. I just don’t get the negativity. I love watching them play, they hardly ever kick at goal but go from driving lineouts and that is a brave thing to do.

And winning rugby is never boring – never mind how you get across the line. They changed it up for this game and even kicked a penalty near half-time, so credit to Rob Baxter and his coaching team but they just came up short.

Jones will be an observer at Twickenham on Sunday when England play the Barbarians but it has no relevance to the World Cup. He was right to hand over to Jim Mallinder for the fixture. Coaches need a rest now and then, too. It is a good game to play in and watch and nothing more.

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